After all the recent stress, you'd think that I'd have gravitated toward some fluff to entertain me, but you'd be wrong.
People kept telling me to read Defending Jacob by William Landay, not necessarily because they thought it was such a great book but because it's about a boy Pete's age and it takes place in my neighborhood. I really was determined not to read it, mostly because it's in fact about a boy Pete's age who is murdered in my neighborhood, possibly by another boy Pete's age! Thanks, but no thanks. At one point I half-heartedly suggested it to my book group members, all of whom are also moms of 14-year-old boys (Pete's pals), and they understandably looked at me like I was nuts.
To start with, it's not my favorite genre at all—a legal thriller. But more importantly, do I really need to read about a kid who gets stabbed at Cold Spring Park, where we've been a million times for our summer farmers' market, soccer practices, etc.? (Answer: NO)
But then Barbara invited me to the annual library luncheon, where Landay will be speaking, and I thought it might be boring if I hadn't read it. Or rude of me. So I did.
Sure, it was kind of fun and interesting to read a book where the characters shop at my Whole Foods, get takeout from that Chinese place we tried but didn't like, go to JP Licks for ice cream, etc. But the story of an assistant DA who is supposed to be handling a murder case but then is taken off it because his own son is the prime suspect ... too upsetting.
If you like legal thrillers and don't have a teenage son, you might like it. It's not badly written, and the premise is fascinating, with quite a few plot twists and turns, and some memorable and well-drawn characters. Too close to home for me, though.
So, to lighten things up a bit, we watched Flight. Oh. My. God. Denzel Washington plays a veteran pilot who makes a heroic landing of a plane that is quite literally falling apart in the sky. Everyone agrees that if anyone else had been behind the controls, there wouldn't have been a single survivor (as it was, 2 flight attendants and 4 passengers died, out of a total of 102 "souls" on board, as they kept putting it). The only problem is that the pilot is an alcoholic and a drug addict and was under the influence of any number of substances at the time of the miraculously successful landing. And, as you might expect, that kind of complicates things.
Pete wanted to watch this movie with us, and I'm very glad I decided against it. A few reviews suggested that it would be OK for a teen, but I am here to tell you that it is most definitely not. Some of the scenes were quite gritty and upsetting, but then again, some of them were a little too positive. I won't say that alcohol and drug use are necessarily glamorized, but I could easily see a kid's takeaway being, "If you drink too much, you can do some coke and then you'll be back to normal."
It's a very interesting premise for a movie, and I do love Denzel, but it was extremely unsettling.
Next week, maybe I'll just reread Harold and the Purple Crayon and watch Oklahoma! a few more times.